NEWS HOOKS Spare the Rod Spoil the Child

In 6th grade, my classmate, Steve Griffin, wrapped his wrist with a rubber band to numb his hand while the nuns who taught us made the rounds smacking our hands with a ruler for not having completed our homework. I was spanked at home, slapped across the face for smart remarks and punished for bad choices when I was a teen. But is that abuse? Typically, parents are in the spotlight for harming their children, not spanking them in public, but the mother who smacked the dickens out of the rioting teen in Baltimore is making more headlines today. This time, she’s being lauded for being a mom who cares.

Are you a parenting expert, author or family counselor who can talk about the pros and cons of physical discipline? Tie your media pitches into the Baltimore mom, Toya Graham, and son, Michael Singleton, who are now iconic. The son says, “I’m embarrassed and now know my mom loves me.”

Families of different races also handle discipline differently. If you’re a pastor, parent or an adult child who can speak about these topics, the media may be looking for you.

Recently, “free-range” parenting has made headlines. Listen to this NPR story about the debate and then contact your local, regional, national and international media with your unique sound bites on this public discussion. They may quote you.

Parental involvement continues to be a big topic with media as it’s central to our communities. Here, The Clarion-Ledger covers a superintendent’s plea.

My dad, may he rest in peace, believed what the Bible taught, “Spare the rod and spoil the child.” I learned while getting my masters degree in human development and years writing award-winning early childhood curriculum, corporal punishment has its pros and cons. It’s an important conversation to have and it does make a difference for parents today.

What would you do if your teen was rioting in Baltimore? I know what Sister Alfreda and what my dad, Charles Tennant, would have done. Numbing the glutes, shoulders or head with a rubber band, though, doesn’t work like it does for the hand. But perhaps our news has numbed us enough. What will be your contribution to this story? Make it memorable. Make it make a difference.

No matter what your stance is on corporal punishment, one thing we can all agree on: is the motive one from love? One thing I believe is, as long as a child feels love, that child will be successful. Go spread some love; in your own expression of that love. Just like Sister Alfreda, Charles Tennant and Toya Graham.



By |2015-04-30T12:31:44+00:00April 30th, 2015|

About the Author:

Good Morning America Producer Mable Chan calls Michelle Tennant a “Five Star Publicist.” Tennant, a partner and executive publicist with Wasabi Publicity Inc., calls herself a “storyteller to the media.” Her passion is telling “truly good stories” and “exclusively representing people who make a positive difference in the world.” For 25+ years, media friends have solicited her help in crafting news stories by requesting sources, sound bites, and statistics. An award-winning writer, Michelle peppers campaigns with insight from her master’s degree in human development, BFA from a top 25 drama school, and expertise seeing PR transition from typewriters to Twitter. She’s either spinning stories or spinning at the gym. After hours, she savors the Smoky Mountains with her husband, Siberian Husky, and backyard chickens. Learn more about her work through her column at The Huffington Post. Check out the clients she's currently pitching at

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